From the onset, he has been a vocal opponent of Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). Although Morning Call columnist Bill White didn't go quite so far as Alan Jennings did in singing the praises of that Potemkin Village, he did make the mistake of claiming that Allentown is "much better off" than it was before Edwin Pawlowski was elected Mayor.
In an op-ed published by The Morning Call, Dr. Thode explains why both Bill and Alan have it wrong. Calling the NIZ "Pennsylvania's version of Detriot," Dr. Thode notes that the City not only poached businesses from outlying communities, but did so from within the City itself.
"In fact, the NIZ is the most distasteful example of crony capitalism of which I am aware: Wealthy businesspersons make sizable campaign donations to politicians; in turn, those politicians pass legislation to divert taxpayer funds to some of those donors; those donors then use some of those taxpayer funds to make more campaign donations to ensure that the cycle repeats itself. Endlessly.
"Does that make the people of Allentown "much better off?" I suggest you ask them."
Updated 4:40 pm: I spelled Detroit wrong, but Detriot does the trick as well.